Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

Worldcon Alternative Facts

Yesterday, participating in a contentious but mostly civil discussion about the Hugo Awards, the conversation went completely off the rails when one of the people let it drop about how Worldcon can't be very important, given that it's just a tiny convention held inside a much bigger event. What? This person — who claims to have attended at least one Worldcon — insisted that Worldcons always attach themselves to other conventions, and the List of Worldcons proves this, since (for instance) the 2017 Worldcon was held at "MidAmeriCon." I tried to explain the tradition of Worldcons naming themselves, but he was having none of it. For example, he insisted that Balticon, an ongoing convention, was also Worldcon a couple of times, with Worldcon being a small number of extra people at Balticon. (The two Baltimore Worldcons were named ConStellation and Bucconeer and were not run by Balticon.) I tried using fact. I tried pointing out that I'm a past Worldcon Chair, and on the board of the group that ran/will run a total of three of them. Nothing worked. He knows the real story, which is that these ongoing conventions have Board of Directors who get paid the Big Bucks, with the Worldcon chair being a minor thing at the Real convention. Eventually the host of the page told us both to stop the discussion. I invited Tinfoil Hat Man to come to my Facebook and continue his assertions, but he choose not to do so.

I don't think he was trolling me. I think he really believes it, and no amount of facts matter. Welcome to the world of alternative facts, where you can make up anything you want, and it must be true.

In fact, to give him the most amount of leeway I possibly can, he probably thinks things work the way he says they do because the way Worldcons are organized is insane. We build up a million-dollar one-shot convention, investing vast amounts of volunteer time and money, and then shut it all down. This is so illogical that he (and presumably others) are convinced that it's not really true, because they personally would never do so. Since they personally would never do it, they know that nobody else would do so, either.

This is yet another reason I encourage all future Worldcons to adopt a name that starts with "Worldcon." Not an individual nickname. Either Worldcon N or Worldcon YYYY: The Nth World Science Fiction Convention. Our traditions have played us false with the rest of the world, including fans who go to SF conventions.
Tags: worldcon

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